Sharing lessons from the Branson Centre’s digital leadership summit

Virgin Unite_Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship_Digital Summit
Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship
The author Gizelle Riley smiles at camera
by Gizelle Riley
29 December 2020
Earlier this year the Branson Centre Caribbean held its first ever virtual summit: Leadership in a Digital Age, during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The online event included a mix of on-demand webinars and livestream panel discussions, giving attendees the opportunity to learn from global experts about how to grow a business online and navigate the new normal brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 3000 people from all over the world tuned into the summit and since then the positive words and impactful updates have not stopped rolling in.

“We gathered the best of the best for Leadership in a Digital Age,” said Lauri-Ann Ainsworth, Branson Centre’s CEO. “This was a free event, but the value of the content is priceless,” she continued. “It was our intention to inspire SMEs as well as provide practical training that attendees could implement with ease,” said Ainsworth. “Even though we shifted our focus from business acceleration to recovery management, we wanted to show SMEs that opportunities are still out there to help them get on the path for growth”. Branson Centre’s CEO commented that another event objective was to give more Caribbean faces the opportunity to showcase their expertise on a global stage.

Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean | Lauri-Ann Ainsworth
Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean | Lauri-Ann Ainsworth

Leadership in a Digital Age hosted two livestream panel discussions. The first, ‘Leadership marketing for Caribbean entrepreneurs’, highlighted how Caribbean entrepreneurs can stand out in a noisy digital world.

When asked what it takes for entrepreneurs to position themselves as thought leaders, panellist and Digital Disruption CEO, Kadia Francis, stated: “You can’t be a thought leader if nobody knows what your thoughts are. You have to start exercising your expertise, people have to actually know what it is that you know. The magnificent thing about the age that we live in is that there are no gatekeepers anymore, it’s your audience that decides your relevance, it’s your audience that decides that you’re good.”

The second panel focused on the topic ‘How Caribbean businesses can thrive in a digital world’ - the discussion spotlighted the evolution of leadership in this digital age and the way forward. “I am extremely humbled to take part in a great keynote discussion for the summit,” said Change Creator’s Adam G. Force. “Entrepreneurs and small businesses are two of the most important solutions to rising global challenges, and that’s why meaningful businesses that solve these challenges are more important than ever before”.

Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean
Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship - Caribbean

Leadership in a Digital Age was Branson Centre’s first virtual summit and we are pleased with the number of attendees and the responses from all over the world. It is clear that taking our signature event online was a step in the right direction and that SMEs are craving this kind of content. Entrepreneurs need to be agile in this fast-paced digital age, and Leadership in a Digital Age showed that in an educational and inspiring way.

The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean is an initiative of Virgin Unite and lead partner Virgin Holidays. The centre was launched in 2011 and helps entrepreneurs in the Caribbean scale their businesses and grow the region’s economy.